Each of our tequila NOM Lists contains the names and information of current brands as well as those that have previously appeared on NOM lists but have since been dropped by the CRT. Pinpointing your treasure bottles has never been easier! Please understand that this list is not a comprehensive list of every tequila brand ever made. We make every effort to be sure it is as accurate as possible from the time we at Tequila Aficionado Media began publishing our lists in 2013.
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About Our Tequila NOM List
Click on any RED link within the NOM list to see the Tequila Aficionado articles and reviews on that brand.*Color Coding*
Brands highlighted in Green are recent additions (see comment on Excel spreadsheet for first shown date)
Brands highlighted in Red did not appear on the current list (see comment on Excel spreadsheet for last shown date)
Brands highlighted in Blue are suspected of using a diffusor in production.
Administrative Adventures With The Tequila NOM List
The 19 August 2014 NOM List provided by the Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT) proved to be quite an afternoon adventure for us at Tequila Aficionado Media.
New Privacy Laws Affect NOM List
First we noticed the “Representante” (Representative) column was missing as well as the “Titular” (Brand Owner) column. Thanks to social media, we were able to make contact with the CRT and they explained:
“Due to recent changes in the privacy laws in Mexico, the data of our associates are protected and cannot be published on our website. That maybe the reason why you cannot see them anymore…”
Then we noticed that NOM 1068, Agroindustria Guadalajara, had completely disappeared from the list. Not just one or two tequilas, but the entire distillery was missing. As we made our way through the list, we found all of the tequilas from Agroindustria Guadalajara listed in NOM 1529, Agaveros y Tequileros. Now this could be news of a merger or buyout or it could be just a gross administrative error. We couldn’t find any information regarding the two businesses in recent news, so we went back to the CRT’s Facebook Page and asked the question:
The CRT personnel behind the Facebook curtain replied with:
“Let me check that, I’ll have an answer in a bit.”
A bit went by and no answer.
Perhaps Mariana Franco was busy taking a call from Rodrigo Montalvo and needed some time to get her thoughts together?
They never did respond on Facebook, but they did edit the NOM List. NOM 1068 has reappeared.
So here we are with the most recent updates to the NOM List with as much information provided as we have available.
Feel free to follow along in the continuing saga on the CRT Facebook Page. We’ve embedded the initial post here. Feel free to click on it and read along!
Tequila Brands and Producers Have Already Sailed Into the Sucker Hole
For those new to the expression, a “sucker hole” is a colloquial term referring to a spate of good weather that “suckers” sailors into leaving port just in time for a storm to resume at full force and wreak havoc on the ship and crew.
For both Tequila Brand Owners and producers of a certain size, their ship has already sailed, and the storm is now closing in on them. Some in denial, others looking through rose-colored margarita glasses, still believe they can navigate through to that glimmer of light on the horizon. However, the perfect storm of doom looms just past the horizon of hope, and will soon envelope and destroy most, if not all, in its wake.
Oh, and that’s the good news. The bad news is that only a few of the big and the very nimble will survive.
This is because of a number of factors, primarily that too many of us bought in to the Yankelovich and similar studies that declared premium and above 100% Agave Tequila brands as the next big thing.
While the premises of these market premonitions were undoubtedly true, too many of us jumped headfirst into the juice just before the world economic decline. Six hundred brands have turned into 1200 brands in less than five years. The growth of the market has been dramatic compared with other distilled spirits, yet, it’s still relatively small, ranked only 4th in US volume. It has not grown fast enough to accommodate all of the entries into the field.
Resistance is Futile – Change is at Hand for the Tequila Market
The Gravy Train Wreck Ahead
I’m sure that for many of you, in just reading the title of this article, your blood pressure has escalated, and you may already be misdirecting your anger at the author.
For others who have experienced the many similar economic paths to consolidation in the global beverage industry, you have already accepted that change has to occur, and you will soon better understand and appreciate the math behind what I am about to lay out, and why everything I’m about to outline here will happen in due course.
For those of you who have your personal fortunes riding on the Tequila Train, both prominence and profit may still seem to be so close that you think you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, or beyond the next bend. But, I’m sorry to say that for most of us in the biz, the light at the end of the tunnel is that of an oncoming locomotive. This will be a catastrophic collision, albeit in slow motion, that will drain your resources and your resolve.
What can be learned from the Russians? (Excerpted from JustDrinks.com)
The global economic crisis has had a significant impact on the Russian spirits market, changing market dynamics and briefly halting the much-lauded premiumisation trend, according to current research.
A recently released report from the International Wine and Spirit Research (IWSR) on Russia’s spirits market claims that the downturn has also led to “…disruptions across the supply chain, with many suppliers and distributors going bankrupt or halting production. For healthier companies, however, it has presented an opening to establish their brands and take market share…”
The Silver Tequila Clouds have a very Dark Lining (Excerpted from Global market review of Tequila – forecasts to 2013 www.researchandmarkets.com )
The history of the Tequila industry has been one of boom and bust. Sales rose during the 1940’s only to collapse again in the mid-50’s. Export sales rose steadily from the 1960’s onward, although domestic sales fell sharply in the 1980’s due again to an economic slump, and the severe Mexican economic crisis of the early 1980’s resulted in plummeting sales.
The market was again disrupted by a critical shortage of Agave beginning in the late ’90’s, which served to hold back the category’s international development as brand owners were forced to divert limited supplies to the core US market, and quality perceptions were damaged as some manufacturers moved from 100% to 51% (Mixto) Agave products.
Today, that dynamic is in reverse, and the market is in oversupply. More and more 100% Agave products are coming into the market. This is helping to raise quality perceptions, and in turn, demand is surging not only in core Mexican and US markets but across a number of other countries.
The outlook for the category has rarely been better, and Casa Noble Tequila president and COO David Ravandi commented, “Tequila is entering a stage of consolidation in the world markets. It is no longer a fad. The fact that 100% Agave Tequila exports have increased tremendously over the last two years is extremely positive for the product’s outlook in the years to come.”
US Tequila Importation is a Sucker Bet
“My cousin will make the best Tequila for you Mr. Gringo”
“So, my friend, you want a great Tequila brand? We will make it for you. Just fifty percent cash up front to start the process.”
Unfortunately, far too many have fallen for this old gag. Relying heavily on the forecasting reports of the early 2000’s that suggested that luxury Tequila would be the next big spirits category after vodka.
With dollar signs in their eyes, the believers drank the Tequila Kool-Aid, most of them spending way too much to buy a brand, custom molded bottles, etc. But the worst part was that this left little if any money for marketing. Many did not even understand brand marketing inflation was happening right under their noses.
It had started soon after Patron hit 100,000 cases in volume in 2001, and the cost to market a Tequila brand in the US went from $1 to $10M per year. Today it takes at least $20M per year just to play in the same ballpark as Patron’s $50M plus, Sauza’s $35M plus, and Cuervo’s $30M plus marketing budgets.
Who could have predicted that a “realistic” business plan for the next successful ultra-premium Tequila brand calling for only 10,000 cases in the first year would end in it’s investors taking a bath?
The problem with this equation is three-fold:
1) Pricing: Unlike vodka and white rum, 100% Agave Tequila is just too expensive to produce and bottle in Mexico. Unless, like rum, vodka and mixto Tequila, it is able to be shipped in bulk and bottled near the final consumer, the cost involved with 100% Agave Tequila is always going to be too high to attain critical volume and profit levels.
2) Volume: US mass volumes are best when a spirits category is between $9.99-29.99/750ml. One hundred percent Agave Tequila is currently profitable only at the upper ranges when higher volumes are attained.
3) Distribution: The US “3-Tier” Distribution System is at best an oligopoly, and 19 states run a monopoly. Of the 1200 plus Tequila brands, want to guess how many they want to carry? Well, after the top 20, you are very lucky to be “special order only”. If you are fortunate enough to live in the states of California or Arizona, where one can be both the importer and distributor, you will find yourself driving your precious Tequila brand around to each account in your car.
Without product volumes or market clout, you will be hard pressed to get even an appointment, let alone a vender number with the chain restaurants and grocery stores. These major chain stores like Chili’s, Chevy’s, Costco, Kroger, etc., drive at least 85% of the combined volume in all but the control states. Without access to the chains, your market becomes the handful of privately owned, “Mom & Pop” accounts that usually know that small independent distributors are easy prey for bending the law on consignment, stringing out payments, or not paying at all.
While driving your own brand around certainly makes time for the personal touch and focus, these hand-selling efforts prove to be the most inefficient ways to distribute one Tequila brand. Your glass ceiling to fame and fortune becomes that next level of chain distribution that can only be had by a state-wide delivery system of the large wholesale distributor.
With Tequila segment Pricing, Volume and Distribution all against you, one will need to have a lot more money than the brands of the past in order to simply survive in the US.
Tanks-a-lot for Nothing
Call the tank maker and raise your stocks of liquid now!
Unfortunately, most of the mid-sized Tequila distilleries have bought into the notion that Agave prices will go up in the very near future. They base this notion on the boom and bust cycle of the past, and like Lehman Brothers, believe that they have successfully timed the market.
Greedily, many producers are now mortgaged to the hilt in order to produce all the Tequila that they possibly can afford to store in stainless tanks or wooden barrels. Fear of the impending Agave price increase that has yet to happen (and may not for many, many years) has seemingly forced them all into a squirrel-like stockpiling frenzy.
Are they storing Blanco, like acorns, for the hard winter ahead? These stored nuts of liquid demise are in reality winds conspiring to produce the perfect storm for all but the most financially secure and/or nimble producers.
Copyright 2010 International Tasting Group (ITG), All rights reserved. Unless otherwise noted, ITG is the legal copyright holder of the material on our blog and it may not be used, reprinted, or published without our written consent.
In the 2010 industry classic special report entitled Tequila Appreciationfor USA Today, it listed five tequila trends to watch. Here, we’re focusing on one of them…
The role of women in the tequila industry.
The report predicted that more women, in particular Latina/Hispanic women with family ties to agave growers and tequila producers, would join the ranks of tequila brand owners and also become influential in other areas of this traditionally male dominated industry.
Current numbers suggest that 70 percent of new businesses are started by women and that 20 percent of new home sales are driven by single women. It’s no secret that Hispanics and Latinos are also the largest US minority, either.
Up to 85 percent of the buying market is women. This translates to $5-$7 trillion dollars every year! It’s no wonder that the Spirits Industry, and particularly the tequila segment, is finally taking notice.
Statue of Mayahuel in Tequila.
We asked a short list of five questions to prominent women leading the charge for change in the Tequila Industry and beyond. As you’ll read, it hasn’t been all margaritas and roses for these tequila boss ladies.
We begin our series of Women In The Tequila Industry with Maestra Tequilera, Ana Maria Romero Mena. You can read a brief summary of her accomplishments in our earlier article on Tequila Boss Ladies.
[Editor’s note: For the convenience of our interviewee and our Spanish speaking audience, this article is in both English and Spanish.]
Maestra Tequilera, Ana Maria Romero Mena.
TA: How would you describe your experiences as a high ranking woman in your position in a primarily male dominated industry?
(¿Cómo describiría sus experiencias como una mujer de alto rango en su posición en una industria dominada principalmente masculina?)
ARM: [My experiences have been] dynamic, enriching, and in constant evolution despite the tequila industry having a long history and a bright future. There’s lots to do in the arena of research and innovation.
(Dinámicas, enriquecedoras y en constante evolución, a pesar de ser una industria con un largo pasado y un gran futuro; hay mucho que hacer en el campo de la investigación y de la innovación.)
The dynamic experience [has been] because it’s an industry in expansion in that the study of new forms of interpreting tequila by the [olfactory] senses are different due to culture, age and sex [of the individual]; enriching because there’s so much to learn from those men who are behind every bottle, from the [brand] owner to the jimador, have been generous in imparting their experiences [to me]; and in constant evolution because the markets have globalized and they permit the generation of new strategies for the positioning of Tequila. Finally, I’d like to say that [the industry] is male dominated but not male chauvinistic.
Romero Mena and actor, Patrick Dempsey of Grey’s Anatomy.
(La experiencia dinámica es porque es una industria en expansión en la que el estudio de nuevas formas de interpretar al tequila desde los sentidos son diferentes debido a la cultura, la edad y el sexo; enriquecedoras porque hay mucho que aprehender de esos hombres que están detrás de cada botella, desde el dueño hasta el jimador, han sido generosos en compartir sus experiencias y en constante evolución porque los mercados se globalizan y nos permiten generar nuevas estrategias para el posicionamiento del Tequila, para finalizar me gustaría decir que es masculina pero no machista.)
TA: How have you been able to change things within your industry?
(¿Cómo han sido capaces de cambiar las cosas dentro de su industria?)
ARM: By studying the behavior of the industry in all its arenas, detecting areas of opportunity, completing the research of that opportunity and presenting it for the betterment of the industry as in the case [of the investigation] of the aromas of tequila, where its source was placed in accordance with its behavior in the development of the sensorial profiles of tequila and then delivered to the mind of the consumer by means of the cata (tasting).
Romero Mena in the agave fields.
(Estudiando el comportamiento de la industria en todas sus aéreas, detectando aéreas de oportunidad, realizando la investigación de esa oportunidad y presentándola para el mejoramiento de la industria, como lo fue la investigación de los aromas del tequila, su procedencia para ubicarlos de acuerdo a su comportamiento en el desarrollo de perfiles sensoriales del tequila y llevarlos a la mente de los consumidores por medio de la cata.)
TA: What do you see as the future of women working within the Tequila Industry?
(¿Qué ves como el futuro de las mujeres que trabajan en la industria del Tequila?)
ARM: It is a full future that allows us to not only grow personally and professionally, but to also leave a legacy for the new generations of women in which innovation will be the key [word].
(Es un futuro pleno, que nos permitirá no solo desarrollarnos personalmente y profesionalmente, si no dejar un legado para las nuevas generaciones de mujeres en las que la innovación será la palabra clave.)
TA: What things would you like to see changed?
(¿Qué cosas gustaría cambiado? )
ARM: To give women more opportunities in positions of higher responsibility and decision making [since] we still share only a minimal portion of those positions.
(Darles mayores oportunidades en puestos de gran responsabilidad y toma de decisiones a las mujeres, todavía compartimos en un porcentaje mínimo en esos puestos.)
Maestra Tequilera, Ana Maria Romero Mena
TA: Is there anything you’d like to say to women who may be contemplating entering and working in the Tequila Industry in one form or another?
(¿Existe algo que le gustaría decir a las mujeres que pueden estar contemplando entrar y trabajar en la industria del Tequila en una forma u otra?)
ARM: It’s a fascinating industry [and] one must get to know it in all its facets, visit and study the different distilleries, the Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT) and the National Chamber of the Tequila Industry (CNIT); get to know its regulations (normas), certify yourself in the desired area of opportunity, e.g.: Maestra Tequilera, Maestra Destiladora; to be at the forefront [vanguard] of the advances and news that generates its dynamism and above all, to be passionate about your work. Knowledge is the key that opens all the doors to opportunities.
(Es una industria fascinante, hay que conocerla en todas sus variables, visitar y estudiar las diferentes destilerías, el Consejo Regulador del Tequila y La Cámara Nacional de la Industria Tequilera, conocer su normatividad, certificarse en el área de oportunidad deseada, por ejemplo Maestra Tequilera, Maestra Destiladora, estar a la vanguardia de los avances y noticias que genera su dinamismo y sobre todo apasionarse por su trabajo. Ya que el conocimiento es la llave que abre todas las oportunidades.)
Hari Dhiman, dressed in a black tuxedo, stood humbly but firmly at the podium and looked out over the darkened auditorium packed with guests and well-wishers from all over the Inland Empire of Southern California.
A masterful networker and community leader, the Founder and CEO of upstart tequila brand Tequila 88 had formally invited this who’s-who of politics and business to join him and his family on an early February evening in 2013 to celebrate the brand’s first year accomplishments. A true success in both his life and business, it hasn’t always been easy for East Indian born Hari, as he explains here…
Tequila88: A Love Story
Coasters and brochures.
In an age where trendy tequila monikers abound and many are marketed to appear so exclusive that they are christened after the area code of certain cities where the brand owners reside or hail from, or the steps taken to represent the tequila’s production (901, 512, 1-2-3, Tres, Cuatro, Cinco), Tequila 88 has a sweet and tender reason for its name that began in exotic Singapore:
The man and his tequila.
Dhiman acknowledged that getting into the tequila business during the recession of 2009-2010 wasn’t an easy decision.
Having made his fortune in the hotel and hospitality business, an industry which suffered significant economic blows during that era, as well, Hari confessed that it seemed a safer bet than developing his own tequila brand.
Perseverance, Commitment, Passion
By Hari’s own admission, Tequila 88’s journey was long and arduous. As a “hands-on” kind of guy, he was involved in every aspect and detail of the brand. Countless hours were spent on the flavor profile alone, which at one point, even led to his chemical engineer/master distiller to give up on the project in frustration.
Hari, however, doggedly insisted that they both press on.
Determined to bring a solid product into the market, and his long term plans for Tequila 88 hanging in the balance, Dhiman refused to cut corners and met every requirement set down by the Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT) as outlined in its rules and regulations (normas).
Not only did Hari Dhiman acquire his desired flavor profiles for Tequila 88 by exceeding the CRT’s standards, he has since successfully exported his first shipment of Tequila 88 to his homeland in India in the spring of 2013.
A Unique Bottle
Tequila 88 blanco and boxes.
When I first met Hari Dhiman at his offices and warehouse in Ontario, CA in January 2013, he recounted the events that lead to designing his unique tequila bottle, several of which were artistically displayed as centerpieces. He then pulled out some shaped pieces of paper from his desk drawer. These were his initial attempts at making a 3-D model of his dream tequila vessel.
He enlisted a mechanical engineer to complete the plans that now hang on his office wall. Tequila 88’s bottle and packaging have become a sought after trophy by collectors.
Rags To Riches
A self-made millionaire and serial entrepreneur with several thriving businesses to his credit, Hari shares his formula for success…
During the course of the evening, the milestone celebration swayed between a fiesta and a stockholders’ meeting, but with a lighthearted and humorous atmosphere, nevertheless. And while it may sound like a cliché, Hari Dhiman’s voyage through life is the epitome of the rags to riches story. The American Dream personified mixed with an intense entrepreneurial spirit.
Exporting Tequila 88 to India.
From mopping floors for minimum wage, to lifting a snifter of tequila to salute his first overseas shipment into a burgeoning new economy and tequila market, one gets the sense that the next phase of Hari Dhiman’s odyssey will take him even further onto his Tequila Hero’s Journey.
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We do not purchase all the spirits we review here. Some we receive from the brand owner, some we receive from the distributor, and some we receive through PR companies. Some spirits we purchase ourselves.